Nursing students are incredibly excited to join the profession. They come into nursing with various “whys,” or reasons for becoming a nurse. Some choose nursing as a second career because they want to help people or earn more money.
Many misconceptions exist about the profession that nurses should know. Cracking these myths will hopefully help nurses understand the nursing profession even more.
1. Nurses work in hospitals only – You might not know that many nurses work in clinical offices too, but did you also know that only 63.2% of nurses are working in the hospital setting? Where are the other nurses?
They work in clinics, homecare, from their own homes, and some are even working for their own businesses. The list of places nurses work could go on and on. If you want the hands-on clinical practice, the hospital is a great place to work, but it’s not for everyone.
2. Nurses are only in the profession because they couldn’t be doctors – Nursing care and the care delivered by physicians are different and unique in their own way. Nurses don’t want to become doctors, and most physicians don’t have as much hands-on care as nurses. Doctors diagnose and learn to treat different illnesses and conditions. Nurses understand these diagnoses and treatments and perform procedures ordered by the physician. They help the patient physically and emotionally and act as patient advocates as they provide care.
3. Jobs are easy to find – Nursing jobs are not necessarily easy to find, even during a nursing shortage. There may be many vacancies nationwide, but only specific areas are affected. Long-term care is one of the growing areas experiencing a lack of nursing staff. However, if you don’t desire a job in long-term care, it might be difficult to find a position.
4. RNs do the same work as LPNs – RNs have more education and provide a higher level of hands-on care. Though LPNs are considered licensed nurses, they are entirely different from the RN. LPNs can’t perform some tasks that involve high-level critical thinking skills, and they must be supervised by an RN at all times.
5. Nurses are an aide to the doctor – The RN and physician are part of the healthcare team. They work together to help the patient. Nurses carry out doctor’s orders. However, they are not the doctor’s aide. Doctors often ask nurses for help with specific tasks, such as calling to set up home care, or asking for assistance with referring a patient for further treatment.
6. Females lead the profession – Females started the nursing profession. Today, it’s a growing field for men. In fact, the nursing workforce consists of 9.6% men! The profession’s core value is caring, and men are coming into the business as caring people. Patients are just as satisfied with male nurses.
7. To advance your nursing degree, you must quit your job and go back to school full time – This statement is false because online programs exist for the working RN. Nurses who want to pursue higher education like a bachelors or master’s degree can do so through a part-time program online. It’s ideal for nurses to work their 3, 12-hour shifts and obtain higher education.
8. Nursing hours are crazy, and nurses never have time for themselves – Many nurses have long 12-hour days. Luckily, they only have to work 3-4 days a week. Those who don’t work 12-hour shifts typically work a standard 8-hour day, and have just as much time to themselves as any other working professional.
9. All nurses are the same – This myth makes it sound like every human is the same. Some nurses are not as hard-working as others, and some are better leaders. Many nurses thrive on adrenaline, and others would rather have no surprises. This is the beauty of the nursing profession. If you want the adrenaline rush at the beginning of your career, you can work in a position that provides it. Then, you might choose to settle down into something less jarring as you approach retirement age.
10. RNs and BSNs are the same – If a nurse has a BSN, it means they have obtained a bachelor’s degree. BSN nurses are RNs, but not all RNs have a BSN degree. You can earn your RN through an associate degree or diploma program, which is shorter. The BSN is a 4-year program. Beyond that, nurses can obtain graduate level degrees, certifications, and more. The learning opportunities are endless for nurses!
Janine Kelbach, RNC-OB is a freelance writer and owner of WriteRN.net.